The Department of Government
The Department of Government

International Relations Speaker Series- Niki Marinov (Univ of Houston)

Candidate-Conditioned Cooperation in International Relations

Wed, December 4, 2019 | BAT 5.108

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

International Relations Speaker Series- Niki Marinov (Univ of Houston)

Abstract: IR scholars want to know when leaders matter in international relations.  We offer an argument that builds on: (1) the preferences of competing groups for power; (2) the ease of replacing leaders; (3) the ability of outsiders to help candidates win in a domestic contest for power.  It is difficult to make concrete predictions about non-democracies, beyond observing that long-run dictators will be equated with the countries they rule over, when their names will come to supplant the country.  The case of democracies is more predictable.  As elections become more competitive, the positions of candidates on foreign powers near.  This is not because leaders naturally agree: rather, foreign powers with a stake in the contest are able to both manipulate the rules and to cause leaders to adopt friendlier positions.  Thus, the importance of specific leaders is minimized for the case of consolidated democracies.  We look at variety of evidence, including the process-party data on election interventions, and speeches on the US Congress floor to demonstrate why it is `Obasanjo, not Nigeria' but `Germany, not Merkel'. 

Bio: Nikolay Marinov is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, conducting research on sanctions, election interventions, and propaganda.

Marinov is currently working on three big projects.  One is best described by a book, coming out with Cambridge University press in August 2019, on the theory and practice of states intervening in the elections of other states. The manuscript, titled Rules and Allies: Foreign Election Interventions, proposes a typology of interventions, develops a theory of when different strategies are adopted, and tests that in an original dataset of elections around the world. The second one is on American economic sanctions. It examines how conflicts and synergies between the legislative and executive branch explain the design and success of economic coercion. The project uses text-as-data techniques to extract more than 2,000 sanctions-related documents from Congress and the Presidency, which are then analyzed. Two working papers are available, and a grant proposal to the NSF seeks to extend the effort. The third project develops a theory of the comparative use of modern propaganda within and between states. It proposes explanations about the spread of conspiratorial narratives, anti-refugee stories, among others, and aims to test those on a corpus of news media articles in Europe.  Working papers and a grant proposal to the German Science Foundation are available.  In other work, Marinov has published on countriesʼ post-coup trajectories, on peacekeeping, foreign aid, election observation. He has helped collect, with Susan Hyde, the NELDA dataset of elections around the world.  He received his BA from the American University in Bulgaria and a PhD in Political Science (Masterʼs in Economics) from Stanford University.  He has held positions at University of Sydney, UCLA, Yale, and the at the University of Mannheim, where he held the Chair for Empirical Democracy Research.  Marinov's work has been supported by the German Science Foundation. 

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